New Pavement Coatings: Improving on Plain Old "Lighter Colored"

Researchers over at Berkeley Lab's Heat Island Group are experimenting with different pavement coatings on one of their parking lots to determine if they can cut down on the "heat island effect," whereby dark pavements absorb the sun's rays and heat up the environment around it. To offset this greenhouse effect, one answer is: cool pavements. The Heat Island Group is experimenting with lighter colored pavement coatings — blue, green, and a fetching yellow — with the goal of reflecting 30 to 50 percent of the solar energy back into the dirty old atmosphere, where it can shine all it wants. But why stop at lighter colors? Why stop at colors at all? There are many substances that could serve as substrates. Here, the pros and cons of other options for the cooler pavement of the future.

• TAUPE

Pro: Won't clash with the architecture.

Con: Will clash with those pumps, honey.

TWISTER MATS

Pro: Every parking lot becomes a swingers' thing.

Con: The people you'd be playing with.

• MARIJUANA FIELDS

Pro: No city parking tickets (if you've got a license).

Con: Federal parking tickets.

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S BALL PITS

Pro: Swimming to your car through plastic balls.

Con: Aspirating plastic balls; kid urine.

• VINTAGE CORDUROYS

Pro: Like walking on a hipster's crotch.

Con: "My parking lot was corduroy before it was cool."

• KANSAS CITY-STYLE PORK RIBS

Pro: Ribs.

Con: None to speak of.

• NUDISTS

Pro: Abundant natural resource.

Con: Ironically, disappear when temperature drops.

• TIRAMISU

Pro: Light and fluffy.

Con: Diabetes.

• SEA LIONS

Pro: Adorable, photogenic.

Con: Increase in parking lot shark attacks.

• DRAG QUEEN HEADDRESSES

Pro: Let's have a kiki.

Con: Will clash with those pumps, honey.

 
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